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SENATE HANSARD 23 MARCH 2021 VOL 30 NO 27
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
SWEARING IN OF A NEW MEMBER
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Following the death of Hon. Sen. Ellen Gwaradzimba, Senator for Manicaland Province, the ZANU PF party duly appointed Hon. Sen. Dorothy Mabika a party list Member of the Senate with effect from 19th March, 2021.
Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the oath of a Member of Parliament in the form set out in the Third Schedule. Section 128 (2) states that the oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament. I therefore call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the oath of a Member of Parliament to Hon. Sen. Dorothy Mabika.
NEW MEMBER SWORN
HON. SEN. DOROTHY MABIKA subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the law and took her seat – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to draw the attention of the Senate to an inadvertent error on the Senate Order Paper, where today’s date is reflected as Thursday, 18th March, 2021 instead of Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Madam President. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 8 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD VIRTUALLY IN NAMIBIA
Ninth Order Read: Adjourned debate on the Report of the 4th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held virtually in Namibia on 9th October, 2020.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 5TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE) HELD IN ABIDJAN
Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE).
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. KHUPE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.
REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)
Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MKWEBU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.
BUSINESS OF THE SENATE
HON. MUZENDA: Madam President, I move that we revert to Order of the Day, No. 6 on today Order Paper.
HON. SEN. MKWEBU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE JOINT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION AND THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT ON THE STATE OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTRES, THE EMPOWER BANK AND SPORTING FACILITIES
Sixth Order read: Adjourned on the report of the Joint Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment on the state of Vocational Training Centres, the Empower Bank and Sporting Facilities.
Question again proposed.
+HON. SEN. MPOFU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this matter on the Joint Parliamentary Committee of Youth and Indigenisation and Empowerment. The delegation was led by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa and Hon. Sen. Tongofa. We had oral evidence from the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works and Empower Bank. We travelled to Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland South and North. We went to Mushagashe Training Centre and Mucheke Stadium. Thereafter, we went to Zvishavane Vocational Training Centre, Mandava Stadium in Zvishavane and Pangani Training Centre in Matabeleland South. We also went to Empower Bank in Bulawayo. Thereafter, we went to Umguza and Kaguvi Training Centres.
The Ministry officials spoke about their programmes on vocational training centres. They were looking forward to building structures for these vocational training centres. They want the curricula for these centres to be more or less like that of China for those that have left schools. VTCs are very necessary in that they help those who would have not attained five ‘O’ levels and fail to go to ‘A’ levels. These people are the ones who are catered for by the vocational training centres.
There are many people at vocational training centres but there is not enough accommodation for them. Most of these vocational training centres are too old. The classrooms and boarding places need to be refurbished so that the children can habitat and learn there. Most of the equipment for learning is now obsolete as it is over 30 years. These days we operate mostly on internet but these VTCs do not have computers. As a result, they are lagging behind on what is happening these days. At Zvishavane Vocational Training Centre, they were better off in that they were given 22 computers by Voltec Engineering which is something very commendable. Boarding facilities are not in order as they are old and they need to be refurbished so that the children can find the place habitable.
In some areas, the children are not able to stay on the campus. They stay in residential areas which are close to the college and this makes it difficult for them to carry out their studies at night. Most of the projects at these vocational training centres are not viable because Government does not disburse funds for their existence. They have gone for five years without any monetary assistance from Central Government. What made me happy at Umguza Vocational Training Centre, it is a new place which started in 2011, they have a dairy hub and dairy cows. The dairy hub was helped by the Dendairy so that they could embark on raring dairy cows. They have 20 cows and some machines that are able to help them diagonise diseases on their beasts. The machines can attend to four beasts at one time. What is problematic at this VTC is that they buy the fodder in foreign currency and yet they sell their milk in local currency. When they buy their stuff for the beasts they buy in foreign currency and as such, this is giving them a problem to go ahead with that project of theirs.
They also complained that when students are through with their studies they cannot be helped with implements so that they can start their own projects. There is need for Government to enable these vocational graduates to be given start-ups to buy the relevant items to start their businesses because they will have been educated on how to run the businesses. They need to be assisted in agriculture and motor mechanics because they need the relevant items to start their businesses.
We also went to Empower Bank. It is a bank that focuses on the youth. The bank caters for projects and businesses for the youth. In 2020, they loaned $9 million to 1500 youths. Unfortunately, this bank only has branches in Bulawayo and Harare. It is our prayer that they have branches in rural areas and other communal areas so that our people know that we have a bank that works with the youth. The other problem that faces the bank in Bulawayo is that there is an acting CEO and he has been acting for more than five years. Because of that, he is not able to carry out his duties freely without consulting the headquarters here in Harare. These VTCs have acting principals for over five years and that also adversely affects their work because they have been acting for too long which frustrates the office bearer.
Most VTCs have gone without carrying out their mandate because of these issues that I have alluded to. The machine is old and there is need for the Empower Bank to look for proper substantive CEO who will take the necessary steps instead of consulting all the time. There is a need also that if there are devolution funds, they should carter for the VTCs so that they can be helped. Most of the devolution funds carter for clinics and roads and we forget about VTCs. We therefore request that devolution funds carter for the VTCs so that they can carry over their mandates. Mr. President, I thank you.
^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank the committees that took time to go and see what is happening out there in the vocational training centres. For sure, what they found out there is not existing at all. It shows that people have forgotten how critical it is for us to have vocational training centres. This is where we take our children to as soon as they come out of school. The same VTCs are the ones that take our children who would have not performed well in their education but most of the VTCs are no longer operational, which makes most of the parents ignore taking their children there because they no longer have provision of accommodation for the children. In addition to issues that are happening in training centres, nowadays we have new technology but because these things are not offered in VTCs, most of our young children are no longer interested in going there because there are not enough computers in the VTCs which make it difficult for our children to learn.
We also realised that there is no budget specifically allocated to the VTCs. As such, these centres end up failing to get enough money for their operations. As we all know that without enough money, there is no progress. Therefore, for the VTCs to continue working, we need to encourage our children to make sure they continue to understand how our country is run and what the situation is like.
Mr. President, allow me to say, as an individual, I have been asking myself why in Beitbridge where I come from, we do not have a VTC. Right now when our children are going to these vocational training centres that do not have enough space for them, it becomes a challenge because they end up looking for accommodation elsewhere which becomes a problem. Most of them end up travelling long distances from where they stay to the centres; hence most of them end up abused. My plea to the Government is that they capacitate VTCs and make sure that they are always rehabilitated and ensure that in Beitbridge, there is a VTC which will take up children from that area.
Looking into the same issue, there are certain projects that they are supposed to be doing which include agriculture and sewing. These become a challenge to engage in when they do not have equipment to use in these projects. If only machines could be availed to these training centres to make sure that children fully utilise them. This will make it possible for those parents that do not have enough money to send their children to universities to take them to these centres whereby they get knowledge as to how to do different projects like farming, goat rearing and other wildlife. If the situation continues like this, our children appear to be lost.
Therefore, Mr. President, I would like to thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion so that people get to know that it is critical for vocational training centres to be availed to our communities so that our children finds something to do. With these few words, I would like to thank you Mr. President. Thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I did not hear what you debated Hon. Sen. Mohadi, but I thank you – [Laughter.] –
+HON. SEN. MKWEBU: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate for giving me this opportunity that I may also debate on the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa and her seconder.
On youths and indigenisation; those who use the Vocational Training Centres, I will talk about Gwanda, Guyu Training Centre. It is a beautiful centre but its present state makes it unattractive to its catchment area. It has very beautiful building structures but all the windows are broken. The centre has a lot of students doing their courses there. Some are engineers studying various fields there at Guyu.
However, the place is good but sometimes the centre runs without water and sooner or later, they will end up having a problem of non-availability of electricity. We recommend that Government should look into those matters and address such challenges at the Vocational Training Centres. Windows must be repaired because there are a lot of mosquitoes in Gwanda such that it gives students discomfort to an extent that they end up transferring to other colleges.
Pangani Vocation Training Center used to have mining structures which were quite beautiful and people used to go there and when it was turned into a VTC, other structures were also put up. However, the Government did not take care of these VTC’s structures like painting and roofing; some of these were affected by bad weather. Therefore, I recommend that the Government should budget for these Vocational Training Centres.
Looking at the quality of teachers at the VTC’s, the teachers engaged would have been aspiring to be there but because of the structures and conditions there, they end up transferring. Government should repair these places so that they can attract qualified teachers or lecturers. It was good that the students who would have failed to attain ‘O’ level or failed to proceed to ‘A’ level go to these VTC’s and do their programmes that involve their life skills. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity so that I can debate supporting the report which was moved by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa on the issue of Joint Committee on Indigenisation, Youth and Sport. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa for bringing the report in this august House. The report was presented here in the Senate and it touched on pertinent issues.
Let me talk on the issues of sports in Zimbabwe. Sports are very important to us as a country. There can be another form of employment for the youths and can also act as a form of entertainment. As a country, our stadiums are expected to be up to standard. Currently, the conditions of our stadiums are in a dilapidated state.
Our city fathers are not doing enough because stadiums fall under local authorities. They must see that our stadiums are renovated and are up to standard in order that they fit the criteria of the laws of the sports internationally. It seems that the city fathers do not budget for the refurbishment of stadiums. They leave out the stadium but I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa that all those things were addressed in the report when he spoke about the status of stadiums.
We also have experts in different sports fields but if we are not allowed to hold certain events because of the state of our stadiums, it is therefore, very pertinent for us to refurbish these stadiums.
On our VTC’s in the country; the Government has got a very good policy for establishing Vocational Training Centres. Our Government has got a vision that young people must grow up doing their own jobs through training at these Vocational Training Centres. The Youths are supposed to learn so that they can understand the jobs that they would be doing. It is not only Zimbabwe which has vocational training centres, even European and other African countries have these VCT’s because they understand that youths are the future of the country.
In our province, we have got Chaminuka Training Centre and therefore we are advocating for the budget that the VTCs will be able to execute their duties very well because there are many courses which are done there, like farming, livestock breeding and other projects.
Those who managed to complete these programmes are self-employed and are now doing their own businesses. Therefore, we see it fit for the VTCs to be financially equipped so that they can function properly. Even the lecturers who teach the youths at these VTCs must be given substantive positions and not acting positions for a long time. We see it fit that all those people who have acted for a long period of time must be given substantive positions because they have dedicated their time. They are there for the period they are acting and therefore Government must also look into all those things. It promotes hard work and productivity at different work places.
I want to thank you Hon. Sen. Mbohwa and the team which you traveled with that the report helps the Government to see the gaps which needs to be addressed. This report managed to address a lot of things which are lacking at different areas so that the country will have good expertise. I want to thank you as a Committee, including the Committee for Youth, Sport and Recreation. We support the report and we expect all those things to be rectified. Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity.
HON. SEN. MBOHWA: Thank you Mr. President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.
REPORT ON THE PARLIAMENTARY LEADERSHIP FOR THE 2030 AGENDA WEBINAR SERIES: COVID-19 RESPONSE - LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Hon. President Sir. I move a motion standing in my name that this House;
Takes note of the Report on the Parliamentary Leadership for the 2030 Agenda Webinar Series: COVID-19 Response: Leaving No One Behind held on 15th February, 2021.
HON. SEN. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My report is very short and I would request that Hon. Senators pay attention, if I may say so. Some of the issues discussed in this paper has somehow been overtaken by events but all the same, I will be looking specifically at what we as Parliamentarians should do in order to be looking at the current COVID and also the response and how Parliament can put in place policies which are going to see our constituencies beyond COVID-19.
This report is on the Parliamentary Leadership for the 2030 Agenda Webinar Series held under the theme, “COVID-19 Response: Leaving No one Behind.” The main aim of the Webinar Virtual Meeting was that the Parliamentary Leadership for the 2030 Agenda Webinar Series be held under the theme, “COVID-19 Response: Leaving No One Behind.” This was jointly convened by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Parliamentarians for the Global Goals on 15th February, 2021.
This was attended by Parliamentarians across the globe. The Webinar examined the negative impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, particularly on the vulnerable communities and healthcare systems. It also looked at how countries; as I have indicated earlier on, some issues have been taken over by events but I am happy that as a country, Zimbabwe now is very much ahead because COVID vaccine is now in place and moving on very well.
As the world moves towards vaccinating campaigns, the Webinar raised concerns that we should leave no one behind, particularly if we are looking at Zimbabwe, probably we might say, how far is our rural population aware and how far also with those living with disabilities and so forth. That was very key.
Parliament of Zimbabwe was represented by myself and Hon. Vincent Tsvangirai. There was very high input from panelists from all over the world, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, the President of Sustainable Development Solutions Network co-chairing with Dr. Peter Hotex of COVID-19 Commission Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics - I cannot belabour you with some of the names. Again later when that report has been posted on our tablets, let us go through that.
Let me quickly look at what I think was very key, especially when we are looking at agenda 2030 and also looking at the health coverage. The outgoing President of the ITU, Hon. Gabriela Cuevas, had very important points which she indicated that as parliamentarians we should be looking at that and share our political leadership beyond health; leaving no one behind, regulate, legislate, invest more and better, move together not just in Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo and Masvingo, leaving others behind. On gender equality and emergency preparedness, how prepared are we if there is going to be another third wave of COVID-19?
I will not belabour on that because there are also other issues, the Lancet Laboratories were looking at many other things that countries should do. WEBINAR recommended that as Parliamentarians we should acknowledge the inequalities between the developed and developing countries in terms of resources, technological advancement and scientific research. In this context, parliamentarians called for the global action in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Collective action will insure accessibility to the vaccine, leaving no one behind.
Mr. President Sir, I hope that all of us have been vaccinated, may I confess I took my time but this morning I went to Wilkins and I was very impressed, there were three sections that were dealing with that and I had to peruse some of the areas that I was not very clear about and now I am convinced that we are going to be very safe. Therefore, as parliamentarians, as we go to our different constituencies, I wish I had done it before because over the weekend when we are many you just flag at least your certificate to show that we have been vaccinated.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity to channel more resources towards scientific research. Parliamentarians called on governments to regard science policy just as important as the foreign policy. Parliamentarians were called upon to exercise their representation role by engaging their constituencies hearing voices and enacting laws that address the people well being not ‘our wellbeing’. This will in turn review policies past COVID-19 pandemic for socio-economic recovery.
Parliaments were called upon to influence the finance ministries of their countries to allocate adequate funds. We are very happy so far that maybe we should say whatever Government has so far given to the budget in as far as COVID-19 is concerned, is adequate for the 10 provinces. I am stressing that I am very happy that the COVID-19 vaccine, at least 60% of the population is going to be vaccinated which is about 10 million. If we reach that then I will give ourselves a hand of applause.
Lastly, Mr. President, the recommendations were as follows:
- The Expanded SDGs Committee to continue monitoring the implementation of the SDGs. Agenda 2030 should be prioritized in our actions plans.
- The Portfolio Committee on Health Child Care should monitor policies in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic through its oversight function. The Committee should be assisted to execute its mandate virtually in light of the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
- That Parliament should ensure that adequate resources are channelled towards the Ministry of Health in order to strengthen health delivery as well as to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Parliament of Zimbabwe should enact laws that support socio-economic recovery post COVID-19, as well as monitoring the roll out of current social safety nets.
Mr. President, my report was quite short, but once it is posted on your tablets Hon. Senators you must look at the things that I have been saying. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to the report which has been presented to this august House by Hon Sen. Muzenda on the Virtual WEBINAR on this current topic COVID-19. More specifically, it was looking at what role parliamentarians can play during this pandemic. Part of the theme was to say we should not leave anyone behind. Allow me to thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda for sharing this report with this august House. I just want to differ with her slightly on the fact that she was almost like regretting that her report came a bit late. It is not late because this is an appropriate time for us parliamentarians to look at it. We have learnt a few lessons and we are still in the middle of the pandemic regardless of the vaccine surge which is being experienced.
Suffice to say even those countries that are ahead in terms of vaccine administration are still experiencing challenges with the COVID pandemic. In fact, they are worried about a third phase. So your report Hon. Sen. Muzenda is timeous. I hope and urge parliamentarians to take it seriously for the betterment of our constituencies. There are so many lessons which we learnt as Zimbabweans within this very short spell of time from the COVID pandemic. It has opened our eyes on how much vulnerable we were when it comes to issues of diseases of public health importance.
I do not want to narrate some of our sad experiences as a nation at the beginning of the epidemic. I am sure you know the experience of Zororo Makamba - may his soul rest in peace. What I am raising is that at that time as a nation, we were so much exposed. We did not have any knowledge, infrastructure and even trained personnel who could actually help the vulnerable. We have gone through a learning curve and it is encouraging as we speak right now that there are so many centres led by the public sector. Government deliberately made it a policy that every province does establish a COVID centre.
I remember at the beginning of the epidemic, there were some foreign nationals who were spotted in Mutoko and were put in a kombi on their way to Harare. They were intercepted on the way because they were serious public health hazards. Now with the set up which we have, there is no need to transport affected people from one point to the other. In that case, Government tried in its own way to try to ensure that no one is left behind. Even the vulnerable communities, you could actually get the basic COVID care in the most remote part of the country. There has been a learning experience on us. We are still learning and we are still in the midst of this pandemic.
Another issue which was brought by the COVID pandemic which we need to take seriously is the development of our health infrastructure in the country. As parliamentarians, we all have had different experiences during this epidemic but what came out can be summarized, that our health system is very much underfunded both in human capital and infrastructure. As we do our legislative roles, we need to really look at the laws which govern investment in public health institutions and also when we pass budgets, we must ensure that we try by all means to allocate more resources to health. This COVID pandemic was a blessing in disguise and I will say why. When we go for budgets, it is always very difficult to convince the Minister of Finance to allocate more resources to health. The COVID pandemic has shown us that without health there is nothing. We had lockdowns and we had given large resources to different ministries but without a healthy nation we cannot go anywhere. The message is very clear and it also emboldens us as parliamentarians that as we go forward we should see that health is allocated reasonable funds to ensure that the health of the nation is safeguarded. Without the health of the nation, our aspirations as a nation to achieve middle income economy by 2030 will not be realised.
This report is very pertinent and important to us as parliamentarians. Part of the theme is “Living No One Behind’. I will ask ourselves as representatives of the various constituencies - are we not leaving anyone behind? We can proffer different answers. Allow me to say as we are speaking right now we are in the vaccine era, how many of us are going out there to talk about vaccines to demystify the myth which is going around because some of them are adverse to vaccine administration? Some have started but we have gathered the required momentum to make the vaccine administration, this important national agenda successful.
The first thing is to make sure that outside there are certain areas where they actually do not know that there is a vaccine. We need to try to encourage our members to go because every portion of the country is represented in these two august Houses. It is easier if we use parliamentarians as a vehicle for that message to reach everyone and encourage them to accept or be part of this vaccine administration programme because it has to be accepted. If we looked at social media, there are so many stories coming out and unfortunately most of them adverse to our national objectives. It is the duty of us as parliamentarians because we command respect and we are a constituency which can make this easier for us to achieve our strategy.
One of the issues which were raised which was part of the WEBINAR was to review policies post COVID. This is very important because we have learnt hard lessons, some of them which we do not want to repeat. Going forward, we need to review our policies in terms of the local situation. For some of us who were in the field, at the beginning of the pandemic people were turned away from hospitals. Some who were not affected by COVID died because of the COVID related fear. I think going forward, we need to come up with policies which equip our health workers on how to handle patients or to carry on with their duties when we have diseases which are of such a magnitude. I do not want to believe that COVID is the end or that it is going to be the last disease which is going to cause a lot of scare within the community. We will get more. We need now to learn from the experiences of this pandemic to prepare and equip our staff for possible future pandemics.
It goes without saying, I have already touched on it Mr. President Sir, the issue of resource allocations; more importantly, not only allocations but also resource utilisation. Mr. President, we are all aware of what happened at the beginning of COVID when we had very scarce resources. Some people in respected offices, instead of channelling them to the needy, they were involved in corrupt activities and diverted all those resources. Those are some of the lessons which we learnt from this experience. Going forward, I am sure we will have systems and procedures which will make sure that we safeguard those few scarce resources and channel them to where they should be.
Mr. President Sir, one of the issues which we need to take stock of ourselves as legislators, is to look at the laws which are related to health or which govern us during periods of epidemics, to say do we have adequate laws or do we have inadequate laws. Those who were present, were they effective enough to take care of our needs. I think we need to go through that. That is one of the issues that I hope as parliamentarians we are going to do – to review the current laws and see whether they serve the purpose and save the people of Zimbabwe who sent us to represent them here for that important function of making laws which will make our society functional. Mr. President Sir, I hope and also urge Hon. Members to just get one or two words from what Hon. Sen. Muzenda said as part of the theme, that we should not leave anyone behind. We are leaders; when you lead you need to know that there are followers. Do not leave them behind. They are with you. So our policies and actions should be directed towards moving together so that no one is left behind during this COVID pandemic and also for future similar pandemics which may hit us. I thank you Mr. President Sir.
*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President. The report that has been brought up with Hon. Chief Whip is talking to us as parliamentarians in terms of what we are doing in this Committee. We have seen all that has happened. I personally do not believe we need legislation first, but we need to act first. When she says ‘leaving nobody behind’, when we question ourselves in this august House, have we taken anyone on board? How many? We know this pandemic is worldwide, it is beyond us but have we taken everyone on board? My experience when I got COVID personally, I did not see what we are doing especially to the down-trodden. You go to a hospital – we should thank the frontliners for trying everything when they knew nothing but still we did not know what we were doing. We were just following what is happening elsewhere. Did we bring everyone on board? N’anga dzedu dziripi kuti dziuye nemishonga? Dzinorapa chii vanhu vanonzi vanorapa ivava? Did we take them on board? We took on board our doctors and they did well. Where is our research institute? Did we bring everyone on board so that we move on? The worst part is on the poor man.
I encountered a situation in St Annes where in a day it was oxygen and steroids that we were getting and you had to pay over US$430 per day. How many people could go to a hospital and pay more than $100 per day. The second thing is, you could not get the oxygen. Is it available now when you are really sick? If you go to BOC Gas, there are no cylinders. This is my own understanding, there are not enough cylinders of oxygen. Are we taking anyone on board or we are just waiting for the cure? Yes, we are waiting for someone to do a research, give us everything and even donate. What are we doing ourselves as Zimbabweans? We always talk of home grown solutions, let us look at these. Even if we fail, we should be able to label an institution that is dealing with that. I feel we are putting ourselves backwards when we could take ourselves more than where we are.
We also have a problem of following the lockdowns. Honestly, when you go to Mbare and see the movement of people without masks, then you know God is with us. This is when you believe God is just managing us. They are moving, they are mingling and they are closer doing everything but we cannot manage them because of poverty. What are we also doing in terms of just ensuring that these common people are getting at least some donations? Civil servants got $75 but what did we give to the common man who walks in the streets? These are the people we are leaving behind. Let us share the little that we have. I am not saying Government can produce money miraculously but are we making an effort of taking the common man on the ground? I grew up through humble beginnings and I strongly believe that there are so many people who have nothing. They survived the pandemic and wake up tomorrow. They get sick, they do not even know and they survive it. That is what I am observing. Are we helping these people who have spent January, February without income? We must understand we have over 85% unemployment, what are we doing? I am not blaming anyone but let us find solutions. Let us engage brains and let us not also condone the corruption that has taken place in selling PPEs. Who has been arrested to date? If none has been arrested, we are doing nothing. As parliamentarians, we have the overall oversight role over Government. Other than the Presidency, we have the overall authority but tinenge tichikumbira ah,zvakati zvarambwa, where is our priority. Let us change our attitude and know that this august House is meant for us to make certain decisions, painful as they are, then we will be moving forward with answers. Lack of leadership comes because when you come with leadership, you are seen as being over enthusiastic.
We also need to encourage innovation; it helps us, let us find a way of encouraging innovation at lower levels to ensure that we get far with this treatment method. So far, how many of our nurses are unemployed?
President Magufuli died, if you check on the social media, they are conspiracy theories that he has been killed because he did not recognise that COVID-19 is real – that is not the case. Even this drug which we are inoculating people, it has gone around that if you have got underlying conditions, you are likely to get side effects. How far have we allowed our people to put notes so that we are convinced that this is assured?
There is this thing that the third tests were not properly done on the Chinese vaccine. All these notes need to be summarised, then we will not be living people behind. All of us are still not very clear, so we need to carry everyone but let us carry everyone in our confusion. Let us carry everyone with a certain clear mandate and knowledge of what we want to do.
I want to agree with the previous Hon. Sen. that there is always allocation of resources. Allocation of resource where there are no resources is a bit difficult but there must be a figure that will be allocated that we are certain is going to work a certain mileage within the pandemic arena and certain amount that goes to publicity and understanding of what is happening. If we do not do that, we are simply left behind including ourselves because we are not very clear of the road map and what we are doing.
The road map of immunisation was given and it is clear but the road map of the uncertainties of what happens to my body if I drink Lake Chivero Water when it is polluted with so many chemicals is not known. So those hypotheses need to have someone who dispels them in the medical field to say this is where we are going.
We need to hire temporary nurses, there must be an allocation to hire most of our trained staff in medication to go around and do this talk. Yes, Members of Parliament can be around but these people are trained and there are doctors who could help us. I think it is a programme that we can all work and suggest to the Minister; actually, it must be directed by Parliament. It only needs ascension by the President and it will be effective.
With these many words which I have said, I think I wanted to be very short, I want us to seriously consider our responsibility and say, are we going to take everyone on board and remember the poor.
HON. SEN. SEKERAMAYI: Madam President of the Senate, Hon. Senators! I stand to support the paper presented to us by Hon. Sen. Muzenda our Chief Whip. It is a paper with recommendations on how the COVID-19 pandemic should be dealt with.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, 24th March, the President himself will be in Victoria Falls and he will be vaccinated and that is a signal to all of us that the vaccination against COVID-19 is not a playing matter, it is something that is being taken very seriously. The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care has also been out as eloquently as he can to tell us as a nation that we must stand together to fight this common enemy COVID pandemic.
It has come at a time when probably nobody had thought about, other illnesses and so forth. You will have a rough idea of how many people are going to be vaccinated at which hospital, maternity ward and so forth but this just came as an attack on us and other people elsewhere without any warning at all.
I think as Members of Parliament and Senators, is incumbent upon us to then do as much as we can to facilitate the vaccination of our population. There is the target population, 60% of the population of Zimbabwe should be vaccinated so that this pandemic can be controlled.
It is incumbent upon us now as public relations officers, for our health services delivery system, we should go to the villages where we were born, to the villages next to us. We should speak to our own parents, kids and others to have them accepting that vaccination is absolutely necessary; we cannot run away from it.
There are parts of the country where as we are talking, there are some people who cannot read or write. There are some parts of the country where there is no adequate television or radio coverage. We should, ourselves, make sure that we are able to get to those remote areas and speak convincingly to our people that this is necessary. As colleagues have been saying, there are some prophets of doom who have been saying this does not work. Let us convince our people that it is absolutely necessary to be vaccinated.
Yes, there are vaccines which we have already received, there are some which are en route and we should be happy that there are countries which are assisting us and willing to assist us. however, there is also provision that if the quantities that are being given to us are not enough, we should be in a position to buy, use our own resources to buy these vaccinations for our people. So, this is something that I think is absolutely necessary.
It is quite obvious that maybe, as an alternative and especially as our Ministry of Finance and Economic Development may not have been paid for this but I am sure as we talk, they are also concerned and they should be mobilising the necessary resources so that we are able to have the vaccines in adequate amount and then logistically make sure that there is mobility to get to the remotest areas of our areas to get to our people who are there. They have suffered disadvantages here and there but I think on this matter, let us just be one team that is determined to conquer this COVID pandemic.
There are things that we are able to do. We have been told the three items: sanitize, social distancing and we have been told what to do when we cough and so forth. All these things can be done but we must also be in a position as leaders to convince our people that it is necessary to do so. Let us not get a situation where people say, “kusiri kufa ndekupi?” No. This is a type of death that can be avoided provided we are able to get our people vaccinated.
Madam President of the Senate, I have just stood up to really support the colleagues who have spoken before me. I could speak for a very long time but I just want at this point in time to emphasise that we should just be one team. Probably, even ask the Ministry of Health and Child Care the budgetary arrangements which they are making to make sure that we do not run short of resources when we are facing this type of problem.
I want to say to Hon. Sen. Muzenda, thank you very much for your paper and the recommendations. I think as Senators, let us take it upon ourselves to do the necessary ground work to get to our people; to the grassroots so that the people are not left behind. The frontline workers are being taken care of. There are many people when we look at the television who are being vaccinated and so forth. So, to a very large extent, those in the urban areas are being taken care of. We need to go rural so that we get our people vaccinated. With these few words, I want to thank you Madam President of the Senate and Hon. Senator Muzenda for her paper. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President. I rise to thank Hon Sen. Muzenda and Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane Khumalo who brought this motion. I listened and the majority of the speakers were doing quite well. I decided that I should also bolster their case by also adding to the motion. Leaving no one behind Madam President means that everyone who is involved has knowledge about Covid 19.
Let me start by saying, so far what has happened in Zimbabwe, we praise it because we have done very well. There is this pandemic called Covid 19 but there are also certain things that are happening that are related with Covid 19. Who is being left behind? Are they people that are being left behind. I am going to touch on the issue of schools. I am going to talk about the illnesses that are occurring in schools. We have vaccinations and we are taking measures to prevent the virus but in schools we lag behind from what I am observing. In other schools, they did not stop learning; they continued learning from home. They are doing online lessons. Some never at all attended school, meaning there are some school children who are being left behind in response to Covid 19. That one is critical.
We are not talking of ipads and laptops. They require electricity. There are schools where electricity is non-existent. These are schools that we have in our communal lands. They have nothing at all. Some children have never seen either a laptop or an ipad at all in their lifetime. I am aware that there are others that are being left behind and there is need to put in concerted efforts so that they are not left behind. Some wrote examinations and performed dismally. There are certain schools in Masvingo that has 0% pass rate. In the communal lands in Masvingo, I would understand the reason of their failure is because of lack of means. It is those that are in the communal areas that are left behind.
There are also those that are equally left behind in urban centres. There are parents that cannot afford a smart phone and this is further exacerbated when we go to the communal lands. If I have no ipad, I can actually attend the Senate sitting whilst using my smart phone from the streets. The majority of rural dwellers have ordinary cell phones that cost $15 and they cannot access the items that are provided on smart phones. If our children were to get smart phones, they would have benefited. They would have problems in recharging their phones but many people now have solar powered equipment that can be used to recharge phone batteries. We do not know how long Covid 19 is going to be with us. If it were to go for 15 years, then it means that a lot of people were going to be left behind.
I will leave those things that have already been mentioned by others. I remember Hon. Sen. Sekeramayi and Hon. Sen. Khaya Moyo, just after 1980, we used to have a magazine called social change and economic development. We had just attained our independence and there was talk of glittering society and it was quite good to read. Where did that magazine go? We forgot about them because that magazine used to indicate the number of people that were in the rural set up and that we should not forget them. We should go back to having the same type of magazines because the reasons why we fought for our independence were spelt out. Some were disadvantaged and others were more endowed than others. That is why we talk about people that have been left behind and they should be matched to the fore.
One speaker talked about the issue of some people just assuming. It was cited by Hon. Sen. Eng. Mudzuri that we have traditional healers who know herbs very well. There is a problem with us as Africans, one knows herbs that treat people but they do not disclose to others and when they die they took to the grave knowledge about the treatment. All ailments are treated by our native traditional medicines. Our traditional herbalists do not disclose the herbs that heal people. I even appeal at funerals that they must not hide their knowledge.
I was one of the lucky people to go to Tanzania yesterday to attend the funeral of the Late President Magufuli. What I saw, even if I am not a medical doctor, I would not associate his death to COVID-19. When a COVID-19 victim dies there are certain procedures that are done to bury the person, even if they do not believe in the prevalence of COVID-19. There was public viewing of his casket by the people of Tanzinia that could not have been done if he had died of COVID-19. The coffin went round to Dodoma, Mwanza, Dar-es-Salaam and this showed that he could not have died of COVID-19. It was mentioned by the leaders that President Magufuli had a heart ailment that he had been suffering from for the past 10 years and that is what led to his death. There may be rumours but these are ill-informed, the truth of this matter is that he succumbed to heart failure.
Lastly, Madam President, let us continue to research into the issue of COVID-19. All the knowledge that we have should be harnessed so that people can be helped. We are just being told at the moment that we should mask up, wash our hands and maintain social distance.
That as it may, we are told that if you are close to someone who is suffering from COVID-19 for a distance less than a metre you can succumb to the virus. There is someone who contracted COVID-19, we met him at the State House, and the person told me that they nearly died. He said certain people that were with him died but he was able to recover. There is also another person who is married, she went to hospital a week later but before that she was sharing the same bedroom with the husband but the husband did not get the infection. We need to investigate this further, maybe researchers may need to find out why some people catch the virus and some are resistant. What do we attribute that to? In what circumstances does this disease transfer to others, we need proper research. We are talking of the first, second and third wave, so where are these waves coming from if we are knowledge about this COVID-19 just like we mend the football tube if it is releasing air, this means that there are grey areas as far as our knowledge is concerned in terms of COVID-19, we must continue researching.
South Africans went to India and got vaccines as soon as the vaccines reached South Africa, they stopped vaccinating people saying it was not strong enough. My point is that there are certain things that we do not know about this disease. Initially it started as flue in 2020, we were told that the disease spreads rapidly in winter, this did not happen in Zimbabwe but rather when it was sunny in January Zimbabwe was hard hit by the pandemic.
So, the point I am making is that there is need for further investigation into COVID-19. COVID has made education uneasy for the rural children. The urban students are capacitated, they have gadgets to aid learning during lockdowns. This must be cascaded to rural areas and the vulnerable groups, schools and less privileged. They should not be left behind because the parents are poor; even if you are in town and your parents are poor you are left behind. People in the communal lands do not have money. Let us not leave people behind - we are leaving people behind. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President for this opportunity to add my voice in support of this report that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Muzenda. This is a very important report. As parliamentarians, we have been tasked to work in regards to COVID-19. Parliamentarians should be tasked with COVID-19 awareness campaigns, as alluded earlier on. There is no country that knew that COVID-19 would be upon us to hit the entire world. We have heard the theme that we should leave no one behind. That can only happen if we as parliamentarians are involved in this campaign.
Let me thank the President, His Excellency Cde Mnangagwa because Government has already set aside $11 million to investigate more into the causes and the nature of COVID-19. That showed that the President was astute. Let me thank Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the churches for encouraging people to protect themselves from this disease. I thank them because they are working very hard. I also want to express gratitude to the Chinese, Russian and Indian Governments these are our all weather friends. They provided us with the vaccines so that the Zimbabwean population cane be vaccinated. Our frontline workers were the first recipients of this vaccine. We have not heard of any side effects or any problems. This gestures by the frontline workers inspires confidence in the generality of the population that vaccines are effective.
Our death toll has not risen as a result of inoculation. We should be grateful for that. We are not the only ones. If you observe what is happening in USA, they have astrazeneca which is being said it causes blood to clot. People in America and Europe turned down the vaccination because of social media. It is our duty as parliamentarians to address such misinformation by social media by giving correct information to our people. This will lead to our people remaining alive and not being influenced by social media. Let us continue to do our work as parliamentarians because we have a huge task ahead of us. We may not achieve everything at once but through the help of artists and the media we will get there.
There is no reason for our people to develop cold feet when it comes to mass vaccination programme. It is our duty as parliamentarians to urge them to accept this noble initiative. I was delighted to see most members of the apostolic sect in Victoria Falls accepting this vaccination programme. We know that since time immemorial most of these members did not accept any form of vaccination administered to them. They accepted the vaccination programme and this shows the confidence they have in the programme.
I want to thank Senator Muzenda for bringing this report which places a huge burden on our shoulders in educating our people to accept the vaccination programme.
*HON SEN. FEMAI: I want to add my voice to the report which was presented by Hon. Sen. Muzenda this afternoon. As parliamentarians we have a big role to play in educating our people to accept the vaccination programme that was initiated by Government. Reports coming through the media are that the President will receive his jab in Victoria Falls tomorrow and the event will be broadcast live on television. This is a good initiative because it will inspire even the blind people to accept vaccination because they will hear from others that the President has been vaccinated.
I am urging Government to broadcast live on television the vaccination of parliamentarians so that this can inspire some people in my constituency. I would also suggest that the vaccination programme should encompass all leaders of political parties so that they speak with one voice when it comes to vaccination. I want to applaud the move that has been taken by the President and I would encourage the programme to cascade to all leaders at various levels.
It is very difficult for a parliamentarian to go round the constituency calling on all people to be inoculated because by the time you complete the move, you will have been scolded by bad people because of the influence of social media. The word that is emerging from the social media is the devil incanet. You should not take it for granted. As Christians we may want to take it lightly but in our African culture we know that there are witches. In English we call those people Satanists – witches are witches. They also use social media. Maybe they are not getting free “meat” from those who will have succumbed to COVID and then you talk of the need to get vaccinated so their “meat” will be in short supply. So they throw spanners into the works. The devil would want a lot of people to die and that is why a bus can be involved in an accident and 70 people can be killed. This is because of the devil. We should not forget that the devil is on the social media. Satan also speaks against whatever good it is that we believe in. So when a Member of Parliament urges people to be inoculated, Satan comes immediately after the MPs speech and urges people to assault the MP. The MP will be assaulted and a lot of things that are derogatory to the Chinese will be mentioned because there is the devil...
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. MOHADI): Order, order. We cannot allow vulgar words that are derogatory to other people in this Senate.
*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Madam President. I am sorry if I strayed. I was under the misconception that I was doing the right thing. Be that as it may, we should know. I hear the chief talking about people and taking with them to the grave. The herbs that they know are of use to the majority of the population. That is very true. It is our plea to Government and those that research into herbs or medicines to do something so that people can come into the open and indicate what herbs they know of and how they are used. They advertise in newspapers that should one pick up about 2kg of bones they can be given $100. Those that pick up plastics are told to receive $2 per kg of plastics. There is money involved that is given to the person. So those that have produced the vaccine that we are being inoculated with today have made a lot of money. It requires a computer to be able to disclose it. The black man who is being asked to come forward and disclose the herbs that they know of has no incentive. We must put in incentives so that they can come forth and say this medicine is used for treating coughs. If they could be given $2 million or their name be associated with particular cough mixture for example, Morgan Femai Cough Mixture and it is sold in supermarkets and I also get paid, that would help people being incentivised to disclose their knowledge about herbs and medicines. Incentives should be put in place as the case with those that sell plastics and bones as well as metal scraps. If the same yardstick was to be used, we would be in a position to get a lot of medicines being discovered in this country.
Once again, I thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda for her report. It has come at the right time during the advent of COVID-19. It should leave no one behind. All of us should be on board, but let us have incentives for us to be able to know what is happening. We should not go round preaching the gospel about COVID like preachers.
Again I reiterate the issue of Satan and the way he operates. That should cascade down to us and the groups that I have made reference to should also be inoculated in public and during the presence of the media which will capture it so that people can easily identify and follow suit. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice. Before I start, I would want to thank and congratulate Hon. Sen. Mabika, the new Member of the Senate. Congratulations and welcome. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda and the seconder of the report. COVID-19, I would liken it to the Third World War that has come this time around because during other times when the wars occurred, they had firearms to fight back. The COVID-19 war came but we were ill-prepared for it. We did not have the guns to return fire. This is COVID-19 which has affected the world over. Since it is a worldwide pandemic, it is now important for us as adults and young children to put our minds together.
The theme says we should not leave anyone behind, which is important. In Harare, an urban setting, people know what is going on as regards COVID. People are aware that the President is going to be publicly inoculated tomorrow. This comes out on televisions but we should not forget those in communal lands. There should be that communication. There is very little communication in the communal lands. The majority of them do not have radios, neither can they access newspapers nor televisions. We know that there is a particular percentage of Zimbabweans which is resident in communal lands. There should be a communication strategy that directs itself in ensuring that the message from His Excellency the President and the Senate President, is from the Senator right down to the lower levels of our system and should be the same. There may be miscommunication if each and everyone of us were to come up with their own message. It is my plea that simple communication be done.
As we grew up in the olden days, we used to have mobile cinemas going to the townships in communal lands. They would then teach people on current events. This had a large impact. Apart from the COVID-19 message, there could also be other information to educate the people on the presence of COVID-19. I would go to my farm, into the compound and find out if people are aware of COVID-19. They would tell me there is no COVID-19, it is in Harare. They told me that there was someone who was killed in Mhangura. In that area, there are no masks. Even if we plead that people should move together, they do not have the sanitisers, the masks that we are using. Sanitisers and masks should be available to school children because they are expensive. They are not affordable to school children. Each school should have sanitisers so that each class has sufficient quantities and the children are enlightened about it. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is important because what is taught to a child at school is the gospel of truth. They will tell you what they were taught by their teacher is correct. So, through the education system and the impartation of knowledge where there are the majority of the children, the teachers are the authentic leaders. So whatever it is that they tell the people is readily accepted.
The churches should also be involved, there must be a buy in from the churches so that they properly impart the knowledge about COVID 19, be it the Roman Catholic or Seventh Day or members of the Apolistic sect, the message should be the same, that leaders should be inoculated in public and it is the way to go because once I am inoculated in the public domain, word spreads that I have been inoculated. We should not leave anyone behind.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education should assist us more in doing scientific research because there is no one who can say; even the Western countries cannot say they were used to COVID 19. This is a new phenomenon and it has affected the people, our own scientists should further research into this disease and find out what it really is.
There is also talk of the third wave which shows that we are not through with COVID-19. People are now relaxed, they are walking about doing as they please. However, I would want to thank the police force because they are arresting people for not wearing masks. Last week my maid phoned me saying she has been arrested whilst talking on the phone without putting on her mask. She was asked to pay a fine of about ZWL1000. The police force is, day in and day out raiding these people and taking them to the police station
School children are going to their schools without putting on masks. It is important that the police should enforce the issue of wearing of masks so that everyone takes it seriously. If you hear the testimonies of those survivors of COVID-19, they will tell you that this is a deadly virus and in that they nearly died. They become dependent on the ventilator and oxygen.
We should be positive in the way we talk so that we do not create any doubts. In our country, we have our traditional herb called Zumbani which has become so famous all over the world. Experts should research the medicinal value of Zumbani because the majority of our people may not afford some of these medications. Right now, a small packet of Zumbani is very expensive but if we were to go to those people in the rural areas who would have harvested that herb, we find that they do not benefit much. SMEs should be set up even in communal lands where they have Zumbani so that they can also benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic medications.
Testing of COVID-19 especially in the rural areas should be for free. We have rural health centres; a long time ago these were put in place when Hon. Sen. Sekeramayi was still Minister of Health and Child Care. Why do we not utilise these centres for people to be tested so that they would not move around without knowing their status? If Senators only are going to be inoculated, what about those we serve? Let us ensure that the inoculation is accessible to everyone.
We should improve the state of affairs in our hospitals and other medical facilities. Let us urge people to be vaccinated and ensure that they get vaccination with the minimum possible time, not for them to spend a quarter of an hour or so whilst queuing to receive inoculation.
As Members of both the National Assembly and Senate that are responsible for oversight, we should ensure that communication messages that are coming out of television should all be in vernacular languages. Mobile cinemas should be re-introduced; they serve us in the past so that we do not leave anyone behind. People should witness that the President is being inoculated through these mobile cinemas.
As SDG Committees, we are being urged to be in the fore front to have pressure groups that look into the laws and also the Ministry of Finance to appreciate that the funding for COVID-19 is a priority. Remember the three months lockdown that we had which was the first of its time. We should place priority on this to ensure that those working with the public are given financial resources and get immunised.
Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira talked of a husband and a wife where the husband is affected and the wife is not affected with COVID-19. It is quite possible, one might be a carrier and the carrier does not suffer from the virus. Everyone should know that COVID-19 is a third world war. We should have sufficient tools to fight against it and we should not leave anyone behind.
HON. SEN. GUMBO: Thank you for this opportunity. I also rise to support the report given by Hon. Sen. Muzenda. Last week on Wednesday, I debated before Hon. Sen. Muzenda had tabled the report. The main thing is that the grandfather who used to be a traditional healer is now possessed and I talked about it in the President’s State of the Nation Address. The President talked about the importance of people being united and how best we can deal with this pandemic.
To those that listened, I said I gave myself time to go around Harare to find out the number of people who were putting on their masks and those that were not. I came out with just one person in town who did not have a mask after having gone around several streets. I thank the Minister for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage for a job well done. The Harare City is quite large. I went round and only found one without wearing a mask.
I also said we had problems in the communal lands, in the farms. Word has not yet reached the people. People are unaware of the need to wear masks. When I heard other Hon. Senators talking about it, this is our biggest challenge. We should win a war against that. If we do not do that, we will lose this battle. In my debate, I said we should all be involved. Yesterday, I was in Kariba addressing a funeral. I urged the people to wear their masks and also I implored upon them that it was very important for them. I challenged them to find out how many had masks. I told them that the first medication is to protect yourself by wearing a mask and it is very effective. It is up to us as Hon. Senators.
I also talked about communal lands and the chiefs’ council. I said that they shoulder the greatest responsibilities to assist us as Members of Parliament and the city councils. We are lucky that there has not been such an outbreak in the communal lands but this cannot be guaranteed that COVID will not reach the communal lands. If it were to affect the communal lands, we are going to be badly hurt. We have been given a chance to ensure that we enlighten our people and we should find means and ways to penetrate the communal lands. I am afraid because I have workers. I have problems in trying to urge them to wear their masks because it is a legal requirement but very few of the workers take heed of my words. We are going to have a reverse osmosis in people contracting COVID starting from the communal lands, coming back to urban centres. Thank you.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President Ma’am, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.
MAINTENANCE OF THE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE COUNTRY
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on road rehabilitation programme countrywide.
Question again proposed
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. MKHWEBU, the Senate adjourned at Eight Minutes Past Five o’clock p.m.